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Santa Clara River (California)

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Santa Clara River

The Santa Clara River is a river, approximately 116 mi (186 km) long, in southern California in the United States. It drains an area of the coastal mountains north of Los Angeles. The Santa Clara is the largest river system along the coast of Southern California and only one of two remaining river systems in the region that remain in their natural states and not channelized by concrete.

Its headwaters are near the town of Acton in Los Angeles County, on the north slope of the San Gabriel Mountains. It flows along the north side of the Santa Susana Mountains and empties into the Pacific Ocean between the cities of Ventura and Oxnard, in the area designated by the state as the Santa Clara River Estuary Natural Reserve.

The river has a watershed of approximately 1,600 square miles containing 57 archeological sites and 12 historical landmarks. Sespe Creek, one of its tributaries, is the only stream in the Southern California designated as a California Wild and Scenic River.

The surrounding riparian natural area is of interest to conservancy organizations because it is habitat for the threatened species such as the southern steelhead, southwestern pond turtle, and least Bell's vireo.

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